Nigel Slater’s recipes for fig and red onion tarts and roast pheasant with apples and cider

1 year ago 146

We are astatine the precise bosom of autumn now, astir clip for the formed robust crockery cookware to travel down from the shelf. There are seasonal treats, excessively – crippled birds and chestnuts, glowing reddish apples and figs arsenic purple and tender arsenic a bruise.

This week I made a meal – a solemnisation of sorts – of cookware roast pheasant and scarlet apples, the vertebrate carved nary excessively professionally, served with a soupy condiment of cider, bacon and sage.

It is good, but astir amended is the crockery we marque from the carcass the adjacent day, the nutrient stripped from the bones and simmered with onion, carrots and celery, and a clump of thyme and bay. We threw successful a fistful of tiny brownish lentils that turned the crockery into a meal.

The figs, astir intolerable to resist, were baked successful crumbly pastry cases with onions and crème fraîche. We baked them earlier the pheasant went successful and ate them warm, arsenic you mightiness a quiche Lorraine, earlier the bird. The 2 that were near worked arsenic a lunchbox dainty for the pursuing day.

Fig and reddish bulb tarts

There is thing peculiarly satisfying astir having a tiny pastry each to oneself. The pastry is amended behaved for being rested successful the fridge for 20 minutes earlier being utilized to enactment the tart tins, and little apt to shrink during baking. Take attraction not to spill the filling implicit the rim of the tarts arsenic they volition instrumentality to the tins. Makes 6

butter 100g
plain flour 200g
egg yolk 1
water a little

For the filling:
red onions 2 ample (or 3 medium)
butter 40g
figs 200g
crème fraîche 200m
egg yolk 1

You volition request 6 loose-bottomed tartlet tins astir 8cm wide and 3cm deep.

Make the pastry: enactment the flour into a nutrient processor, adhd the food and process for a infinitesimal oregon truthful until you person coarse crumbs. Add the ovum yolk and capable h2o to bring to a steadfast rollable dough. (I commencement with 1 tbsp and adhd a fewer much drops until I person a manageable dough.)

Remove the dough from the machine, knead precise concisely connected a floured board, past pat it into a round, wrapper successful room insubstantial and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Set the oven astatine 180C/gas people 4. Peel the onions, portion them thinly into rounds, past fto them navigator successful the food implicit a mean heat, until precise soft. Stir them from clip to clip – they volition astir apt instrumentality a bully 20 minutes. Give them clip to go glossy and somewhat jammy. Remove them from the heat. Chop the figs into tiny pieces, past disturbance into the onions with the crème fraîche. Beat the ovum yolk with a fork past disturbance into the substance and play lightly with brackish and pepper.

Lightly food the tart tins and spot them connected a baking sheet. Roll the pastry retired thinly and chopped 6 discs astir 15cm successful diameter. Use the discs to capable the tart tins, pushing the pastry mildly into the corners. Place a portion of insubstantial successful each tart lawsuit on with baking beans to forestall the pastry slipping oregon rising. Bake for 20 minutes, past region the tray of tart cases from the oven, assistance retired the insubstantial and beans, past instrumentality the cases to the oven for 3 oregon 4 minutes until adust to the touch.

It is worthy cautiously loosening the tart cases successful their tins truthful they are easier to region erstwhile filled and baked. Stir the filling, past spoon into the tarts. Bake for a further 30-35 minutes, region them from the oven and let to remainder for 10 minutes earlier serving.

Roast pheasant with apples and cider

 roast pheasant with apples and cider.
‘Served with a soupy condiment of cider, bacon and sage’: roast pheasant with apples and cider. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin/The Observer

I find adjacent the plumpest pheasant feeds conscionable 2 people, but they go bully worth erstwhile you usage the bones for soup. The bacon – oregon pancetta if you similar – is determination not lone for flavour but for its fat, which pheasants thin to lack. Check the birds’ advancement successful the oven regularly, but I find erring connected the broadside of under-rather an over-cooking gives a juicier result. Serves 2

pheasants 2
butter 30g
unsmoked streaky bacon rashers 6, chopped into abbreviated lengths, oregon tiny cubes of pancetta
onions 2, medium
dry cider 250ml
bay leaves 2
sage leaves 3 oregon 4
apples 4-6, tiny and tart

Preheat the oven to 160C/gas people 3. Season the pheasants with brackish and achromatic pepper. Peel and astir chop the onions. Melt the food successful a heavy casserole oregon roasting crockery implicit a mean heat, adhd the bacon oregon pancetta and sizzle for a mates of minutes until the abdominous is golden, past adhd the onions and proceed until they are brushed and airy gold. Remove from the cookware and acceptable aside.

Introduce the pheasants to the pan, letting them colour connected each sides, turning them successful the abdominous arsenic necessary, until golden. Lift them retired and acceptable speech with the bacon.

Pour the cider into the cookware and bring to the boil, stirring successful the juices that person caramelised connected the bottom, past instrumentality the bacon, onions, pheasants and immoderate escaped cooking juices to the pan.

Score each pome astir its mediate with a weapon – it volition halt them splitting successful the oven. Add the bay, sage leaves and apples to the pan, past screen with a lid, spot successful the oven and permission to roast for astir 50 minutes.

Test for doneness – the nutrient should beryllium juicy, precise somewhat pinkish wrong and the tegument should beryllium amber gold. Remove from the oven and acceptable aside, inactive covered, to remainder for 10 minutes.

Serve the birds with the apples and cookware juices. The aromatics successful the tin should person the profoundly appley tone of autumn.

Follow Nigel connected Twitter @NigelSlater